USAFE-AFAFRICA Safety directorate wins again

  • Published
  • By Capt. Kaila Bryant
  • U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa Public Affairs

The U.S. Air Force in Europe – Air Forces Africa Safety directorate won two Air-Force level awards for fiscal year 2021.

Through their promotion of proactive aviation safety for nine wings and eight major weapon systems, the flight safety division took home the Major General Benjamin D. Foulois Memorial Award, awarded to the major command selected by the Chief of Staff of the Air Force to recognize the best aviation safety program that year. Similarly, the occupational safety division won the Colonel Will L. Tubbs Memorial Award for risk management, mishap prevention, external engagements, and being the best overall MAJCOM Safety office, cementing their top spot in the Air Force with their fourth win in the last five years.

“There are always risks involved with Air Force missions and operations,” explained Lt. Col. Dwight Rabe, Flight Safety division chief. “So our presence here is to help our wings understand the risks of their operations and figure out solutions that can be implemented with the resources they have.”

USAFE-AFAFRICA’s Safety directorate is comprised of three divisions: flight safety, occupational safety and weapons safety. These divisions support the entire major command, to include all of the wings across the two continents. They serve the MAJCOM by functioning as the theater’s premier safety office to support the safety goals of NATO, European, and African partners.

Rabe stated that the 26-member team advises the wings on how they can best preserve their resources. By preserving resources, they optimize their mission.

“The key to an effective safety program is proactive safety,” added Rabe. “In 2020, our total costs of mishaps were over $100 million and in 2021, they were less than $10 million. This is a testament of our wings’ hard work and the disciplined professionalism of our operations and maintenance units.”

USAFE-AFAFRICA’s safety team has proven their commitment to their mission statement, “Preserve resources and provide nuclear surety to enable combat readiness.”

The safety team works hard to maintain safe work and training environments, which aims to ensure operational readiness is accomplished without mishaps. They have had many positive interactions by helping other units with ways to enable the mission by managing risk.

“As flexible as we are, we’re a mature staff with a lot of experience, we’re good at overcoming challenges,” said CMSgt. James Yerger, USAFE-AFAFRICA safety functional manager. “We’ve had strong teams and amazing support from our leadership – without those, we’d have limited chances to excel.”